Eureka Garden

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson made his first trip to Jacksonville for a tour of the troubled Eureka Garden housing complex Tuesday.

He met with residents and local officials, laying out his plans to reform the public housing system.

 Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the Eureka Garden housing complex failing a federal Housing and Urban Development inspection with Florida Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi. We also aired an interview recorded by WJCT reporter Ryan Benk with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity Director Cissy Proctor. We discussed some upcoming changes to people’s credit rating with Jax Federal Credit Union CEO Gerri Sexsion and we learned about the Sustainable Textile Youth Lectures with Naz&Court partner and designer Courtney Barriger.  


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville officials announced Tuesday an Ohio-based company is interested in buying the troubled low-income housing complex Eureka Garden.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is asking the owner of Jacksonville’s low-income housing complex Eureka Gardens to beef up security following a mass shooting Monday.

The current owner may have secured a buyer for the troubled complex.

Chasing the Dream

The deplorable conditions at the local low-income housing project Eureka Gardens captured national headlines when it came to light residents were living with dangerous mold, leaky gas pipes, and dilapidated stairs. But those conditions aren’t unique to that complex. 

Many local, low-income residents deal with these conditions every day.

For poor people in Jacksonville, finding housing that’s both affordable and livable can be hard to come by. Finding shelter often means settling for dangerously run-down apartments and dealing with the constant threat of eviction.

WJCT’s "Chasing the Dream" series, launching this week on 89.9 FM, examines what housing is available when you’re poor and what’s being done to help against a public housing system that’s underfunded nationwide.

We discuss the issue with WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo, and attorneys Katherine Hanson and Jeff Haynie of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.

Media Roundtable Week in Review

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Sebastian Kitchen, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; and WJCT News analyst John Burr.

Topics include Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and City Councilman Garrett Dennis' meeting with United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro concerning the Eureka Garden housing complex, and more. 

Valerie Plame Wilson

Eureka Garden

Federal housing officials are ordering the owners of Jacksonville’s troubled Eureka Garden public housing complex to either fix the problems there, or sell them.

Everything from roaches to dangerous mold in the units has plagued tenants there for years.

Community activist Denise Hunt has been working for some time now to raise awareness about the problems at Eureka Garden. She joins us to discuss the situation.


Federal authorities are warning the owner of Jacksonville’s Eureka Garden subsidized-housing complex that it is in default of a key funding contract because of deplorable conditions at the apartments.

A Notice of Default from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says Global Ministries Foundation has failed “to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.”

HUD has set a February 4 deadline for the Reverend Richard Hamlet to fix the problems at the troubled site.

Meanwhile, Wayman Ministries and the Wayman Community Development Corporation are working to improve the lives of the residents of Eureka Garden. We speak with Pastor Mark L. Griffin about their efforts.

Federal inspectors say they’re investigating the ministry that’s running Eureka Garden, the Westside apartment community that has been plagued by high crime and deplorable living conditions.

Denise Hunt, a local activist, joins us today with her thoughts on the investigations – and what she calls Jacksonville’s “tale of two cities.”

We discuss the week's top news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; David Bauerlein, Florida Times-Union reporter; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly writer; and WJCT analyst John Burr.

Topics include the audit of the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund, updates about the Eureka Garden affordable housing complex, and more.

We speak with Rev. Richard Hamlet, the founder of Global Ministries Foundation, who says he’s committed to improving conditions at Eureka Garden, the Section 8 complex in Jacksonville that’s recently come under fire for dangerous conditions. Hamlet met with local and federal officials this week to work on fixing a long list of property code citations and health issues at the Westside apartments.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics writer; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; and Matt Shaw, Folio Weekly editor.

Topics include the ongoing controversy over Jacksonville's Eureka Garden subsidized housing complex, a City Council committee voting to replace City Planning Commissioners Lisa King and Joey McKinnon, and more.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

A little more than a week after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development voided a passing grade for languishing apartment complex Eureka Garden, residents say they want the complex condemned.

Tenants say their health has been affected by unsanitary conditions, including mold and a recent gas leak.

Pastor Mark Griffin of Wayman Ministries condemned fellow believer Rev. Richard Hamlet and his Global Ministries Foundation, which manages the troubled property Thursday.

Griffin says Jacksonville should apply more pressure to Hamlet by attacking his wallet.

Lindsey Kilbride

Duval Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti held his second "Chat with the Supe" community forum at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church downtown on Wednesday.

Parents had concerns about the new math curriculum, DUVAL Math, also called Eureka, or Engage New York. It requires a deeper look into problem solving, using new methods.

Triniece Patterson has two children in Duval schools. She says she doesn't have enough resources to help her daughter with math at home.  


The board that approves bonds for affordable housing in Jacksonville was bypassed in the deal that green-lighted Global Ministries Foundation's purchase of its six properties in Jacksonville, including the troubled Eureka Garden complex.

Mayor Alvin Brown signed off on the deal in 2012 in a highly unconventional move, according to Mark Hendrickson, the financial adviser for the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority.

Hendrickson has worked with JHFA for eight years and has been in public housing since 1976.